No one really wants to look out of the window and see the big green/black/blue/grey/purple – delete according to your local authority’s scheme – wheelie bin squatting in the garden. But bins are a necessary evil. And often we need to store more than one, with the separation of recycling, composting, food waste, garden waste. Particularly if your outside space is on the small side, camouflaging these containers is a great idea
Think in terms of adding a decorative feature to your garden, rather than concealing something unsightly. Take into consideration the angle from which the bins are in your line of sight most often: walking towards the house? From the kitchen window? That’s the viewing angle that you need to address.
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One useful addition to your bin is your house number – even more so if your bins are left on the pavement. Now that bins are centrally issued, they all look the same so, to avoid confusion and taking home someone else’s bottom-of-the-bin detritus, stick on a number. Plain or patterned, pretty or practical, you can pick them up from hardware shops for a couple of pounds.
For more coverage, and some camouflage, you can add adhesive bin covers, in patterns such as sunflowers, or leafy hedge. Alton Garden Centre has a good range of foliage patterns, from ivy to leylandii, and floral designs such as roses or classic cottage garden, all at £17.99 each, which help your bin to blend into the background.
Plants in containers can be positioned beside your bins. Obviously tall specimens will do the best job, as will climbers on a conical frame or trellis. Or how about a tall container, with a tall plant or even a small tree? The eye will be drawn to the flowers, fruits and foliage, not the grey plastic behind. cultivate climbers.
Your bin may be sited down the side of the house or in another similarly shady situation. In such situations, you can make regular swaps of the beside-the-bin plant. Or try a trellis with artificial plants, such as the birch leaf artificial trellis, from £14.99, from Crocus could work well, although it would need to be fixed to the wall or fence to hold it in position. Or you could make your own with faux flowers and foliage tucked into a trellis.
Alternatively, position a multi-layered plant stand against your bins. The slatted back panel of the wooden, three-shelf stand, RRP £119.99 from Garden Creations, will effectively hide the bins behind it, and gives great display space.
You can make a three-sided screen with trellis panels, either painted or left plain. To prevent them being blown away, you might want to weight them down, or attach them to the wall or fence.
A folding woven willow screen is a more flexible option. The bin hide from Great Little Garden costs £56.99 and has a robust metal frame, and will screen off two bins.
With a similar look of woven wood, Amberley Products’ screens are made of woven panels with an external wooden frame, from £109 for a single bin screen.
The ultimate in wheelie concealing, if you have space, a purpose-built cupboard with a bolting or latched door keeps everything out of sight, and you can use the roof for plants in containers.
Wooden wheelie bin stores can be painted in colours that tone with your front door or woodwork, pick up the hues of your plants, or in a complete contrast. The Heritage Bin Store, £265 from B&Q has room for two wheelie bins, and a sloping flip-up roof – easier to add rubbish, as well as a front-opening side-hinged door for bin removal.
Bluum has a store for one wheelie bin and three shelves for other containers, with a roof planter, for £449. If you have the necessary DIY skills, or know someone who does, how about a brick-built enclosure? Or, for a more contemporary look, try a stone-filled gabion surround. Manomano has a C-shaped gabion surround to take two bins, for £109.99. You could add soil and pop in some plants too.
And once your chosen camouflage is in place you can relax and enjoy your garden, knowing that it looks good from every angle.
Prices correct at time of publishing
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